Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Parker, Julie C.

Committee Member

Elmore-Staton, Lori D.

Committee Member

Davis, Louise E.

Committee Member

Smith, Rebecca

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Human Development and Family Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


The early childhood administrator is tasked with overseeing all operations within the early childhood program. Operational functions include functions traditionally associated with education including the design and implementation of curriculum, creating and maintaining the learning environment, and ensuring the health and safety of children enrolled in the program. The administrator of the early childhood program is also tasked with other functions including human resource functions, budgeting, as well as income and cost management. Additionally, the administrator should be an advocate within public policy concerning early childhood education. Research has acknowledged the functions associated with the early childhood administrator role. In 1992, Paula Jorde-Bloom named the early childhood administrator as the “Gatekeeper of Quality”. Since then, research has supported that establishing and maintaining quality is yet another responsibility of the early childhood administrator. The current study examined the role of the administrator, particularly the preparation that the administrator receives, in an effort to determine the impact that the administrator has on the quality of the program. A sample (n = 224) was pulled from early childhood administrators in Mississippi. The preparation received by these administrators, including formal education and additional training, was measured and regression analysis with Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Revised (ECERS-R) scores measuring quality of the early childhood program regressed with an aggregated early childhood administration preparation variable to determine if administration preparation could predict overall quality within the early childhood program. As the literature indicated that fiscal management practices also fall under the scope of responsibilities of the administrator, fiscal management preparation was isolated and regression analysis with ECERS-R scores was conducted to determine if fiscal management preparation could predict overall quality within the early childhood program as well. The study found that administration preparation was a significant predictor of quality. However, preparation specific to fiscal management knowledge was not found to be a predictor of overall quality. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are addressed.